Election diary No. 23: Wednesday, 30, March 2022.
The Coalition simply have a plan to keep wages low. It’s in their DNA.
All those who think that wages are long overdue to rise are certainly out of step with former Finance Minister Mathias Corman.
What follows was first published in The Conversation on March 18, 2019
.@David_Speers: Do you agree flexibility in wages and keeping wages at a modest level is a deliberate feature of our economic architecture? @lindareynoldswa: No absolutely not. For Bill Shorten to even suggest that…
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) March 10, 2019
At the time, John Quiggin, writing in The Conversation reported that:
“The long debate over the causes of wage stagnation took an unexpected turn last week when Finance Minister Matthias Cormann described (downward) flexibility in the rate of wage growth as ‘a deliberate design feature of our economic architecture’.
It was a position that was endorsed in a flurry of confusion 16 seconds after it had been rejected by Defence Industry Minister Linda Reynolds.
Cormann had said policies aimed at pushing wages up could cause ‘massive spikes in unemployment’.
The ease with which Reynolds was trapped into at first rejecting and then accepting what her ministerial colleague had said flowed from the fact that Cormann had broken one of the standing conventions of politics in Australia, and for that matter, the English-speaking world.
For more than forty years, both the architecture of labour market regulation and the discretionary choices of governments have been designed with the precise objective of holding wages down.”
Cormann had spilt the beans in 2017. Had no one taken any notice? Why all of a sudden is there this frenzy about low wages now that it had clashed with high inflation and the rising cost of living.
“In a nation with a history of strong trade unions, decades of full employment, and the boundless faith in the future forged by the 1960s, wages grew faster than prices as both spiralled upwards.
By the time rising unemployment began to bite, and inflation slowed down, the wage share of national income had risen to an unprecedented 62%.”
Now with trade unions, all but KOd:
“… reining in this ‘real wage overhang‘ became the central obsession of macroeconomic policy since.”
Since then, policies designed to hold back wages have been a feature of conservative economic policy. It is not something that has just recently come to everyone’s attention.
In the election year, 2019, Bill Shorten argued for a restoration of penalty rates, a review of feminised industries that typically paid less, and a clampdown on wage theft. He declared the upcoming federal election a “referendum on wages“.
Shorten also wanted the minimum wage to be higher and believed the enterprise bargaining system should be overhauled.
An article on SBS at the time noted that the:
“Prime Minister Scott Morrison now argues Labor won’t be able to improve wages while taxing Australians more and that wage growth will come quicker as economic growth ramps up.”
Senator Cormann said if Mr Shorten wanted to mandate a particular wage level, he would be removing necessary flexibility in the system.
He will force more Australians onto the unemployment queues,” he said.
Labor workplace relations spokesman Brendan O’Connor said Senator Cormann’s comments showed the coalition didn’t have specific policies designed to grow wages and reduce inequality.
Journalists of Australia, please wake up and do your job.
2 Seeking asylum? Which country has shown the most compassion? The one who had the heart to accept them or the one who couldn’t find the heart?
3 Insider blows the whistle on Angus Taylor’s greenhouse gas reduction schemes:
“An enviro market without integrity isn’t an enviro market… It’s a rort.
“Its little more than a wealth transfer. Think about it as welfare payments for the undeserving.”
Taylor might be praying for that far away miracle that allows him to breathe the free air we all do.
An insider has blown the whistle on the integrity of the Federal Govt's carbon markets. His criticism has an all-too-familiar ring.
— Jo Dyer (@instanterudite) March 23, 2022
4 The words that exit his lying lips are just like all the others.
“I haven’t been to Hillsong in 15 years.” Lies, continuous lies. There are many videos to show that he visited in 2019.
5 To think that a Minister should have to threaten to quit his job to get a fair go in the budget is somewhat alarming, but that is precisely what happened to the Veterans Affairs Minister Andrew Gee. He was on the brink of offering his resignation from the cabinet following an enormous blue over department funding days out from the federal budget.
6 The Budget Papers for 21/22 were released last night, and of course, I have had little or no time to peruse its guts, although I expect it was one totality aimed at winning an election and nothing else.
7 Those on the left of politics have endured yet another three years of conservative government. During this period and the other terms that amount to almost a decade, I have nearly exhausted myself writing about this period. I expect an election to be called later this week.
When a political party deliberately withholds information that the voter needs to make an informed, balanced and reasoned assessment of how it is being governed. It is lying by omission. It is also tantamount to the manipulation of our democracy.
I have described it as the worst duration of governance we have endured in the 60 plus years I have followed politics. Now we are called yet again to vote for the party we think will take us, following a disastrous pandemic and a decade of catastrophes, into a new future.
We have a choice, or do we? On the one hand, we have a government that has governed abysmally over a long period. Do we retain them despite their appalling record? A proven liar of little trust leads them. On the other hand, we could choose a party that is led by a politician who carries little baggage but without charisma. In my judgement, Albanese is a man suited to the times able to fix the many wrongs that Morrison and others have made.
But the campaigns of these two men are ahead of them. We are in Morrison’s case charged with looking at his record of the past and judging what he offers for the future.
The same goes for the more ‘unknown’ Anthony Albanese, but I’m prepared to say that he is far, far more trustworthy than the incumbent Scott Morrison.
I hope that the Australian people will this time take more significant care in selecting which party governs for the next three years. It well may be the most important election this country has ever faced.
My previous diary entry: Under Barnaby Joyce, the Nationals are dying a slow death.
My thought for the day
We exercise our involvement in our democracy every three years by voting. After that the vast majority takes very little interest. Why is it so?
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